Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Daughter's Promise by Christine Clemetson

A Daughter's Promise is set in Rome, Italy, mostly during the final year of WWII.  A twenty-year-old Italian woman, Serene, is faced with some very difficult decisions, and the split-second choices she makes lead to surprising, life-changing outcomes. 

Like much historical romantic fiction, the story focuses primarily on the protagonist's romantic feelings, unashamedly treading into melodrama at times.  The cinematic storyline, delivered in clear, easy-to-read prose, provides a satisfying tale for fans of this genre.

Serene's life has not been easy, and the war only adds to her difficulties, but she is fortunate that her family is among the better-off Italians.  It is actually her family's wealth that attracts one of her biggest problems, a fiancĂ© who, we quickly learn, is both brutal and a gold-digger.

A U.S. American soldier, Miles, enters Serene's life, making her question her decisions, convictions and life choices.  Actually, many of Serene's life choices have been made by others.
Like a spider web; the threads of her life had been woven since she was young, but she had no part in the loom's process.

The story of Miles and Serene is the main story in this romance novel, and it develops convincingly.  The author uses the 3rd person limited narrative style, letting us into one main character's mind at a time.  This way we can see what Serene is thinking, along with Miles, and Serene's fiancĂ©.

The author makes the odd decision to translate her Italian characters' names into English (Anthony, Harry, Jack...).  Perhaps that is so readers find them more relatable?  Some of the story feels less than convincing if you have ever lived in Italy, but if you haven't, then you shouldn't notice anything. 

The author is not writing a travel book, but a romance, so she rightly focuses on Miles and Serene and their story, and provides the reader with a highly romantic conclusion to the story.
I've been trying to find you my entire life.

Most of Italy is nominally Catholic, and in 1944, most Italians were practicing Catholics, so the author is right to have that a part of Serene's daily life.  Her faith brings her comfort in the difficult times, and blesses the joyous moments.

Since the book is set during wartime, I think the author is right to include the loss and trauma of war, which affects not just those who fight, but those who lose loved ones to the fighting.  Some of the most touching moments in A Daughter's Promise come from the soldiers and the soldiers' families.

Serene is the protagonist, so we spend a lot of time "listening" to her thoughts, fears and feelings.  The writing style and content make this book suitable not just for adults, but for young-adults, too.  There are no explicit sex scenes, only suggested ones.  There are unplanned pregnancies, and pre-marital sex, but I don't recall encountering any vulgarities.

Because Serene is forced to make decisions for herself, for the first time, and for her family members, and strangers too, you could call this a coming-of-age novel.
She remembered her mother saying that strength came from deep within, from a place discovered only when times seem unbearable.  Serene realized she had found that place.
The young woman has to reach deep within herself to get through this difficult time in her life.  She succeeds in the end, and finds true love, and does not let her family down. 

From the book's description:
Embroiled in a bitter fight to liberate Rome during WWII, American soldier Miles Coulson is stranded on the cold beaches of Italy, alone, bleeding out, and not knowing the lay of the land. This leaves him with one choice: Live or die. Until Serene Moneto risks her family and her freedom to give him shelter. But as he recuperates, Miles finds himself fighting to liberate Serene from a life worse than any death. As the world crumbles around them, can the strength of their forbidden love be enough to win the biggest battle of all? 

A Daughter's Promise is published by The Wild Rose Press, a publishing house that specializes in romance, erotica, and beyond.  The heat level of the stories are indicated by a coding system:  Sweet=Clean, Sensual=Suggestive, Spicy=Erotica, Hot and GLV=Porn which are listed in a separate catalog.

Here are direct links to A Daughter's Promise at

Here are links to several books from The Wild Rose Press (Suggestive and Erotica) that are set in Italy:

Please visit the author's website.

This review is by Candida Martinelli, of Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site, and the author of the cozy-murder-mystery novel AN EXTRA VIRGIN PRESSING MURDER, and the young-adult/adult mystery novel series THE VIOLET STRANGE MYSTERIES the first book of which is VIOLET'S PROBLEM.

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